Forces beyond our control

FIT Show director Nickie West discusses why the FIT Show has reverted to a biennial format.

Sometimes in life and business we have to accept that no matter how much we believe in a decision, no matter how much work, investment and effort we put into making it a reality, there are forces out of our control that will prevail.

The conditions that prompted the announcement to go annual with FIT Show from 2020 changed dramatically over the three-year period that preceded this: 45% of the exhibitors who were on the floor in 2017 did not come to the 2019 show; the same audience that had voted for a biennial event, but who had not supported it. All of our insight and historical data was pointing towards a smaller, annual show as being the route to go down. But our convictions were proved wrong.

The sustained political and economic uncertainty had a substantial impact on confidence to invest across the market which, in turn, slowed uptake for the event. But the most important driver for us making the announcement to revert FIT Show to its most successful biennial frequency was the feedback we received from the wider industry.

We’ve listened to our community, we’ve taken the time to meet with key stakeholders and hear their views on the impact of the show’s frequency on their businesses.

We completely take on board the feedback that more time is required between shows to allow for new product development. We also stand by our previous statement that a large proportion of the visitor audience that we drive is new, and therefore brands should not be deterred from exhibiting if they do not have something brand new to showcase every other year.

We took all of the above factors into consideration before making our decision, and made this with a genuine desire to preserve the long-term success of FIT Show for the entire industry. The market needs stability more than ever and this announcement gives them that for their flagship UK event.

We’re working very closely with our key stakeholders, trade bodies, industry experts and training providers to ensure that FIT Show 2021 is relevant to, and reflective of, the market. We strive to make every FIT Show the best one yet and we are entering the 2021 campaign with a renewed enthusiasm and the backing of the whole industry.

In terms of what will be new for 2021, we’ll be replacing the tired and, as some suggested, outdated gala dinner with a new ‘networking night’ on the Wednesday of the show. This will be held instead of a late-night opening on the first day of the show and will include networking, live music, refreshments and the FIT Show award winner presentations.

We’re looking to integrate new registration technology and visitor booking systems to help maximise people’s time at the show, as well as streamline the lead capture process for our exhibitors.

VisitGlass is set to return on a slightly larger scale, and we are exploring a couple of new, and very exciting, product areas that complement the existing offering and will broaden our audience appeal. We’ll be running a new and improved CPD learning programme and looking at new and exciting ways to help our exhibitors maximise their time at FIT Show 2021.

Our move over to Halls 2 and 3 in the NEC will make the show much more accessible for exhibitors and visitors, and we’re in talks with a couple of brands about creating a bespoke entrance to the show that will capture people’s imaginations from the moment they enter the halls.

I’ve said this before – and I really do mean it – we’re very fortunate to be part of an industry that is genuinely supportive of FIT Show, wants to see it succeed, and are open and willing to work to ensure that it remains the UK’s flagship event for the fenestration industry. Thank you to everyone that has voiced their support for our decision. I’m excited about working with each and every one of you to help make FIT Show 2021 the best one yet.

FIT Show will return to the NEC on May 25-27  2021, in Halls 2 and 3.